It was a long few months for Sebastopol foodies starting in early January, when K&L Bistro owners Karen and Lucas Martin closed their iconic, 13-year-old French restaurant for a long-needed updating.
No steak frites for us, no PEI mussels mariniere with fries and aioli, no cozy tete-a-tetes over a lovely bottle of wine.
But now, K&L has reopened, better than ever, and actually bigger, since the Martins took an offer they couldn’t refuse, taking over a neighboring day spa, and adjacent bakery and knitting shop space. The move effectively doubled the size of the eatery, and importantly, greatly expanded the kitchen that had spanned only about 10-by-10 feet.
Previously, K&L Bistro was a tight fit for its fans, offering just 25 seats. Diners now find 80 seats, including 26 at a new full bar, plus a handful of tables on a tiny sidewalk patio.
While fine French dining remains the theme, there is also a new menu of small plates, such as fried green tomatoes topped in Oregon bay shrimp, Green Goddess dressing and green tomato salsa; house made charcuterie of warm rabbit rilletes, Karen’s chicken liver mousse, toasts and cornichons; or grilled Delta asparagus with crispy nine minute egg and truffle vinaigrette.
A new raw bar glitters with chipped ice, and daily oysters selections like Marin County Miyagi, British Columbia Beausoleil, and Washington Totten Inlet.
A new mesquite wood fire grill crackles with flames roasting whole branzino dressed in olive oil and fleur de sel, local King salmon with corn-fava bean succotash and beurre blanc, and naturally raised rib eye steak with French fries and porcini butter.
The traditional menu still celebrates traditional French classics like rabbit liver mousse with bacon-endive salad and sieved egg, a salad of farro, fresh favas and shaved radishes in lemon vinaigrette, risotto with Meyer lemon and asparagus, and house made boudin blanc sausages with apple-endive salad and French fries.
There’s another treat waiting at the copper top bar, too - full cocktails, rounding out the previous beer- and wine-only lists. Those include seasonal specialties like a New cocktails include a Sazerac, Corpse Reviver, and a signature “La Palabra” of mezcal, habanero syrup and chocolate bitters.
A votre santé!
Details: K&L Bistro, 119 S. Main St., Sebastopol, 707-823-6614, klbistro.com. Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
Tip: A fine French meal deserves a fine ride door-to-door, in a limo or Town Car from Pure Luxury.